In The News: Smokers get less sleep than non-smokers

Need another reason to kick your smoking habit? Add lack of sleep to your long list of negative side effects. Perhaps that need to drink 3 cups of coffee before you can function in the AM has more to do with your smoking habit that you think.

Back in August Addiction Journal published a study in which the sleep patterns of 1,071 smokers and 1,243 non-smokers where studied. Other factors such as age, sex and level of education and income, as well as depressiveness, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity, alcohol drinking behavior and perceived stress, were included in the study.

The study resulted in consistently, higher degrees of nicotine dependence and intensity of smoking being associated with shorter sleep duration. This study demonstrates for the first time an elevated prevalence of sleep disturbance in smokers compared with non-smokers in a population without lifetime history of psychiatric disorders even after controlling for potentially relevant risk factors.

PsychCentral reported that in 2008, scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found that people who get fewer than six hours of sleep every night had higher rates of smoking. [Huffington Post, 2012]

In another study, The Relation between Cigarette Smoking and Sleep Disturbance, published by Preventive Medicine in 2004, the association between smoking and sleeping was found to be true. The study showed results that among both males and females, smoking was associated with difficulty initiating sleep, and difficulty waking up. Excessive daytime sleepiness was related to smoking only for females while nightmares and disturbing dreams were related to smoking only among males. The study concluded that smoking was associated with difficulty initiating sleep and with a constellation of symptoms suggestive of sleep fragmentation. Sleep disturbance may be more prevalent among smokers due to the stimulant effects of nicotine, nightly withdrawal, an increased prevalence of sleep disordered breathing relative to nonsmokers, and/or an association with psychological disturbance.

There have been numerous studies done on whether smoking impacts ones sleeping patterns but studies can only prove so much. There are many factors that impact the outcome like age, sex, weight, height, culture, co-occurring disorders like addiction or mental illness. One study done in 1993 by San Jose University showed that yes there was a correlation between smoking and poor sleep quality but other factors such as caffeine and alcohol intake affected the outcome. It was shown that those who drank more caffeine and alcohol had less quality sleep. Go figure.